Thursday, August 27, 2009

My latest creations




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My first daring baker's challenge


This is my first DB challenge and for various reasons, I decided to go vegan on this one. This month we had to make a Dobos Torte, the absolutely divine sponge cake layers divided by chocolate buttercream and filled with nuts. The origin of this torte is also quite interesting, you can read all about it here.
The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

For my version, I used an eggless sponge cake recipe from the lovely Sunita's blog

Sponge cake
Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup of
brown sugar
2 tsp
baking powder
6 tbsp of canola oil
1tsp
vanilla essence
1 cup of
water
a pinch of salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 350F.
I cut out two parchment sheets each about 8 inches diameter and laid them out on two sheet pans.
In a bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.
In another bowl, whisk oil, water and vanilla essence. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon (there is no need to over do here)
Tip this mixture onto the parchment paper and spread evenly (to get a nice thin sheet, mine was anything but evenly spread!)
Bake for about 20 minutes or until the edges turn brown.
Once out of the oven, cool it completely and using a 2 inch cookie cutter, cut the sheet into mini circles.

Vegan Chocolate Buttercream (I got help on this one from here)

Ingredients
1/2 cup earth balance, natural shortening (softened)
1 3/4 cup light brown sugar (powdered)

1 tsp vanilla extract
1 oz chocolate

about 4-5 tbsp almond milk


Method

Melt the chocolate in the microwave (be careful not to overheat the chocolate, the man who was helping me did this and trust me burnt chocolate does not smell good at all!)
Mix shortening with the sugar, until it is creamy. Now add the chocolate, milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth and creamy.

Now spread the buttercream on to each of the sponge sheet layer (my mini-torte had 3 to 4 layers and I could make about 5 tortes from the two 8 inch rounds). Spread it on the outside too and garnish with whatever you like, I used toasted hazelnuts.

I also tried making caramel but that turned out to be a bit of a disaster, not because of the consistency or anything but because I could not stand the lemon flavor in the caramel so I made one mini-torte for myself without the caramel.

Judgement

It was a really moist cake with a yummy yet not-so-buttery buttercream layers. There is nothing better in this world than chocolate and hazelnut...so you give me that and I am good to go!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ganesh Chathurthi

This Ganesh Chaturthi, I celebrated with some home-made rava modak. I love the original steamed kozhukattais made with rice flour, but I have seen my mom make it and have seen the amount of stirring that goes into it. So I chickened out- and instead made these fried rava modaks filled with jaggery- coconut filling. The recipe comes from my mom,

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups Sooji/Rava
2-3 tbsp ghee
Warm milk for kneading

Mix the ghee in the rava. Add milk little by little- knead it till it forms a dough (like for chappatis). Let it rest for about 2hrs.

For the filling,
1 cup Jaggery (depends on how sweet you want the filling to be)
1 cup coconut (the amount should be so much as to absorb all the liquid)
small amount of பச்சை கற்பூரம் (green camphor is what that means but it is camphor that is edible)
2-3 pods of elaichi/cardamom pods, crushed

Melt the jaggery in a pan on medium heat, mix in the camphor and elaichi. Stir in the coconut. Heat it until all the liquid is absorbed with occasional stirring.

Now that you have the filling ready, roll the rava dough into small circles. Fill it with the jaggery-coconut mixture. Fry it until it is golden brown (I used olive oil and canola oil mixture).

The memories of throwing a clay Ganesha idol into our well is still fresh in our mind. My dad made us go around the house with it and then we would dump it in the water, where it came from. Too bad these days they make the idols out of that plaster thing, they might look awesome but they are not good for the environment.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mascarpone-melon phyllo cups and...

...and an asparagus soup. Yeah, the recipe for the soup is from Ganga's blog and the melon dessert is my own and therefore only alright. In my defense- it was 90F with the oven on at 375F and no AC. I had it today folks..it was a good work-out, I must say (LOL).
For the soup, I followed the recipe closely from her blog, except for a few differences I have pointed out below
Ingredients
one packet of frozen small green asparagus
a gentle herb – chervil if you can get it. I can’t so I used some lemon verbena and a tip of lemongrass (I also used lemon verbena (from my own garden).
1.5 Tblspn extra virgin olive oil
1 Tblspn arrowroot (did not add this)
1 cup milk
salt and freshly ground pepper
large pinch of nutmeg
3 Tblspns thick crème fraîche or thick cream

For how to cook this soup, you can check Ganga's blog. I also added some roasted asparagus for garnish. This goes to Yasmeen who is hosting this month's Tried and tasted event featuring Ganga's blog. The event was started by Zlamushka.

Mascarpone-melon phyllo cups

Part 1
Phyllo dough (I used the store bought phyllo dough rolled into sheets)
Melted butter

Preheat oven at 375F
Take on phyllo sheet, brush melted butter and layer with another sheet (repeat until you have 5 layers). Cut into squares and place the squares into a muffin pan (the size of the square depends on the size of the muffin pan)
Bake for about 10-12 minutes
Cool the cups

Part 2
2 cups chopped canteloupe
zest of one lemon
lemon juice from half a lemon
chopped leaves (a handful) of lemon verbena
8oz mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup powdered brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence

Puree the first four ingredients. Beat the cheese, sugar and vanilla essence. Combine the pureed mixture with the cheese mixture and chill it. Here is where mine is a bit more runny than I wanted it to be (I guess I should have used lesser canteloupe puree). Also I could have a bit more sweetness to it, may be some honey. But the taste was not so bad though.
I am sending this to the monthly mingle event hosted at "chew on that" blog with the MELON theme!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Crystal clear-1


I made this recently for a friend, turned out ok! That is a cutsy bear pendant, when I first got it though I had no idea what I was gonna do with it...but hey all is well that ends well, innit...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ready for some wild bread....


Yes, I can...
Finally I managed to bake some bread and a bread that has wild rice in it (do not please ask me why I am so enamored with wild rice). The only thing is wild rice is freaking expensive people. Yeah that is the most costly ingredient in this bread but it is all worth it in the end, innit?!

So here goes, my own adaptation of this recipe here

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tbsp butter, cubed
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 cup cooked wild rice

Method

1. In a large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, yeast and salt. In a small saucepan, heat the water, milk, butter and honey to 120°-130° (I used my judgement here as I do not own a thermometer). Add to dry ingredients; beat until smooth. Stir in the wild rice and enough all-purpose flour to form a stiff dough (I would have used about half a cup more flour and I think I accidentally added more wild rice than 1 cup, may be again half a cup more).
2. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a bowl coated with cooking spray, turning once to coat top. Cover (with a damp towel and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.
3. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a loaf. Place in a 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
4. Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to wire racks to cool completely


Judgement: The bread tasted great especially when I toasted it- all the flavors were lovely. It was great for breakfast this morning! I am sending this bread to BBD # 23 hosted by Nick of IMAfoodblog and started by the lovely Zorra.